MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field
Sashi has over twelve years of international development experience in inclusive financial services, credit guarantees, training, and project management in over 30 countries. Prior to MEDA, Sashi worked at USAID in their Office of Development Credit and Office of Poverty Reduction in Washington, DC. She specialized in providing technical assistance to USAID Field Missions in SME finance, housing, microfinance, and municipal finance. Sashi has worked on savings mobilization and investment at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Grameen Foundation, and was a consultant on household financing for water and sanitation in Cambodia. As a consultant for the ADB, Sashi conducted due diligence of prospective partner banks in Central Asia and Asia. She obtained her MSc. in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and her BA in International Development from Vanderbilt University.

Opportunities for ICT Innovations in Myanmar

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As Myanmar slowly opens its doors to the world, can it also leapfrog some of the biggest failures in development?

One of MEDA’s newest projects to launch in Asia is in Myanmar, also referred to as Burma.  A country in the midst of transition and change is slowly reducing barriers to foreign trade and influence, and opening its once closed borders to global firms. Myanmar now finds itself in the crossroads at the 21st century’s technology boom, with global powerhouse neighbours such as India and China, the country has a unique opportunity to learn and apply lessons learned in the entry to a globalized economy and marketplace. Managing the economic boom that will result with the influx of capital and infrastructure to ensure equitable distribution and equal access to new opportunities is no small challenge. And many international donors, such as the Canadian Government are seeking to provide support by facilitating economic growth in less developed areas, such as the country's ethnic states.

MEDA’s project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, focuses on reaching 25,000 women farmers and entrepreneurs in two of these states – Southern Shan and Kayin. MEDA plans to increase access to these new opportunities in rural areas of the country, targeting women in select value chains with high growth potential. And as the enabling environment gradually improves to foster private sector development, the potential for new economic opportunities for rural women and men also grows rapidly. Activities will focus on achieving women’s economic empowerment with the proven benefits to the larger household and community. As in other countries, women farmers in Myanmar have less access to land ownership but are able to access inputs, seeds, and extension services. However, gender differences in access to land and credit affect the relative ability of female farmers and entrepreneurs to invest, operate to scale, and benefit from growing market opportunities in their respective communities.

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